Strolling around the old town centre in the low evening light, watching frosty snowflakes descend on the rooftops and spread a carpet of white all over the town: in winter Aosta becomes even more fascinating than ever. And in this truly unique setting, with the white of the snow falling on the walls of the Rome of the Alps, the winter season sees events and age-old traditions combine with relaxation and easy, convenient access to the lifts for a day of skiing. Once autumn and its incredible colours have given way to the snow, at the end of November, it’s time to welcome the Marché Vert Noël, the now famous Christmas market that attracts tourists from all over Europe. Throughout the winter holiday period, against the delightful backdrop of the city’s Roman Theatre, you can wander around the chalets of the market in search of typical specialities, handicraft products, or, perhaps a small souvenir to take home with you, while choirs and musical groups make the atmosphere even more evocative. The market is replete with the magic of Christmas, transforming the area of the Theatre into an authentic mountain village: handicrafts from the Aosta Valley and beyond, local food and wine products, mulled wine, sounds, lights and colours will warm up the cold Alpine days with all the enchantment of the festive season.
Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, on the other hand, are the ideal times to take a seat at the table and savour some of the Aosta Valley’s fine food and wine, which are at their best during the colder seasons: polenta concia with Fontina PDO, Fonduta, Seupa à la Vapelenentse and Chamois in civet are just a few of the dishes you absolutely must try in the region, perhaps accompanied by the local wines, well worth discovering and tasting. And if you prefer to enjoy the quiet slopes on New Year’s Day rather than the New Year's Eve celebrations in the streets of the town centre, the Aosta-Pila cable car will take you to the foot of the ski resort in just a few minutes. From the first of January, the countdown begins in Aosta to the most important event of the year: the thousand-year-old Sant’Orso Fair, scheduled for January 30 and 31.
The Sant’Orso Fair is a timeless festival, a thousand-year-old tradition rooted in legendary tales of the saint, who we know lived before the 9th century, at a time when craftsmen and farmers used to come down to the valley to buy livestock and tools for the upcoming agricultural year. Today, however, the Fair is a great occasion for a festival that - for two days and throughout the city centre - showcases the creations of local artisans and delights participants with its colours and music. Not to be missed is the Veillà, the “white night” of celebration between the two days of the fair. In addition to the official events, the Veillà offers a chance to discover the crotte, the cellars in which you can celebrate until dawn, enjoying the genuine hospitality of the mountain folk.